Dominic Cummings has alleged that Boris Johnson was reluctant to introduce stricter Covid restrictions amid a surge in cases last autumn because he thought the disease was only killing the over 80s.
“I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff” Cummings said the prime minister had messaged him.
Cummings claimed that Johnson wanted to protect the economy and let the virus “wash through the country.” According to figures from the ONS, the UK economy grew 1.1 per cent in September last year.
The allegations came in an interview with the BBC.
Downing Street said that the prime minister had taken the “necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice” in response to the claims.
The fresh set of allegations comes as Mr Cummings levelled accusations of gross mis-management of the pandemic on the part of Johnson and ex-Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, during a seven-hour session with MPs in May.
Cummings said thousands died needlessly as a result of government mistakes in handling Covid.
Covid cases receded heading into the summer of last year, prompting an easing of restrictions. However, cases surged after September, driven by the more virulent “Kent” variant of the virus.
In the interview, Cummings said he, chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Chris Whitty pressed Johnson to reintroduce stricter measures in September.
In response to the requests, Cummings claimed Johnson said: “No, no no, no, no, I’m not doing it.”
Cummings shared WhatsApp messages with the BBC which claim he said: “Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital… and of those virtually all survive. And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff. Folks I think we may need to recalibrate… There are max 3m in this country aged over 80.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged the government to introduce a two to three week “circuit breaker” lockdown on 13 October, which the government rejected.
The prime minister then announced a month-long lockdown on 31 October.